custom crib bedding.

I recently had the pleasure of sending off a large brown paper package to a customer.  Back in the summer, a mama-to-be contacted me about crafting a crib bedding set based on a Ten Thousand Villages-esk/Indian/ethnic theme that would go hand in hand with her nursery.  She needed a quilt, bumper, and box pleat crib skirt.  Of course I jumped on the chance because what fun would that be!  I loved the combination of reds, yellows and oranges — it gave the bedding a real pop of expression and culture.

and lastly, a customer photo of it in action

cloth napkins.

Project 2: Cloth Napkins.

Vintage or handmade cloth napkins are a little something-something that make my heart happy.  They show me that you care.  They make a home sweet and cozy. Especially during tea time, with perhaps a side of blackberry tea cake?  My next Home Ec project is two-fold: single sided cloth napkins, and double sided cloth napkins.  My past Home Ec projects can be found here (pin cushion).

stack of handmade cloth napkins

single sided napkins

the zig zag stitch adds a simple decorative touch

double sided napkins

front is 100% cotton, back is 100% linen

the blue ricrac adds a playful touch

me thinks it’s time for a picnic

pin cushion.

As some of you may remember, and still ask about, I signed up for a sewing class last fall.  I can’t say I’ve been totally up to speed with it, but the nice thing about the class is that it’s designed to finish in a year’s time — which is great for stay-at-home mamas!  That year will be up in August; which means I need to get crack’in! I’ve been meaning to post the projects I’ve completed thus far — so here goes:

Project 1: Pin Cushion.

The projects start off easy and get harder from project to project.  I had alot of fun making this pin cushion.  The instructions asked that I piece it together in patchwork style; however, I added a little of my own style by hand embroidering a vintage doily onto the front of the pin cushion and some onto the back.  I love thrifting for vintage doilies and fabric just for this reason!

Now, just as a fun gesture, I’d like to mail this pin cushion out to someone as a little gift from Susie Mey.  : )  Leave a comment here on this post, or shoot me an email at and let me know!  I would keep it, but I have two handmade ones that could never be replaced because they are my absolute favorite!

baby smith handmade #5.

Project #5:  Eclectic First Christmas Stocking.

I’m long overdue on posting a Baby Smith Handmade project.  It was Dhara’s first (actually second) Christmas, so I wanted to make her something handmade that she would love as a child, and love even as an adult every time Christmas rolls around.  A stocking fit that bill.  I had three requirements.  1) I’m not big on Christmas fabric. 2) I want something heirloom + vintage quality.  And, 3) Simple, yet different and pretty.

I made the stocking at Greg’s parent’s home at the beach.  Actually, both Greg’s mom and myself made a stocking for Dhara.  We laid out all our supplies, fabrics, Ghinger scissors, and trims on the long dining table, and got to work drafting our patterns on newspaper and sewing away.  It was so relaxing chatting and watching the old-school black + white version of Miracle on 34th Street in the background.

The stocking I made is crafted of linen on the front and a good quality quilting weighted cotton on the back.  The front consists of swatches of Indian fabrics and some mustard green rick rack.  The 3 beautiful cream crocheted flowers are my mother-in-law’s handiwork — she makes these beautiful flowers.  I am determined to learn how to make them this year!  A garland project made of crocheted flowers has been dwelling on my mind.  The inside of the stocking is fully lined with quilting cotton.  The back of the stocking has a personal note to my Dhara Dear, which I embroidered.  The whole stocking, minus the personal note, probably took me around 3.5-4 hours to complete.

crocheted flowers by greg’s mom

embroidering personal note on back

back of stocking


Other Baby Smith Handmade Projects:

Project #4:  Bunting.

Project #3:  Waterproof Bibs.

Project #2:  Shawl Collar Sweater.

Project #1:  Scalloped Blanket.

What is Baby Smith Handmade?

sewing class.

I debated over it for a couple weeks and finally took the plunge.  I signed myself up for a sewing class ($60).  An online sewing class via the super crafty blog, Freckled Nest.  The class is called Home Ec and is taught by three fun and super creative gals, Leigh Ann, Rachel, and Courtney.  I love sewing and have been sewing for about 9 years now.  But I signed up for this refresher course because I’m interested in learning special sewing techniques and working on the 25 class projects — the initial projects being very easy — but the later projects being just up my alley.  (I’m really looking forward to the leather bag project!).  The projects also looked really fun and useful.  It’s neat because the class also has a private Flickr group so students can share photos of their finished work.

Today starts the first day of class and Rachel will be showing us two ways to sew cloth napkins.  Easy I know, but I’ve never used ricrac before, so this will be fun.  I hope to share projects on my blog as they are completed.

In terms of fabric and supplies for each one of these projects, I pretty much already have all the fabric and supplies I need in my stash, but I went to the fabric store yesterday to pick up the few items I didn’t have on hand for the first few assignments.

soft muslin, waffle cotton, and pillow ticking

I have a special place in my heart for cotton ribbon

blue striped linen

warm blue and mustard green ricrac

baby smith handmade #4.

Project #4:  Bunting.

I love bunting.  I love sewing bunting.  This 30 foot stretch of bunting was used for Dhara’s party, but will eventually grace her bedroom, that is whenever we move out of my parent’s home.  Right now it’s hanging in our bedroom near Dhara’s crib.

Most bunting you find is triangular shaped, but I wanted something a little different, so I went with a semi-circle design (I just cut my own semi-circle on pattern drafting paper).  And I’m so glad I did!  The bunting is double sided, so I used a different fabric for the front of each semi-circle and a different fabric for the back.  I used double folded bias tape for the red strip that holds the bunting together.  It probably took me around 5 – 7 hours to complete the entire project — from cutting to sewing everything together.  Of course with a baby, that time is split with some sewing here and some there.  Gone are the days when I can complete a project in one sitting.

from Dhara’s Summer Garden Party


Other Baby Smith Handmade Projects:

Project #3:  Waterproof Bibs.

Project #2:  Shawl Collar Sweater.

Project #1:  Scalloped Blanket.

What is Baby Smith Handmade?

baby smith handmade #3.

Project #3:  Waterproof Bibs.

It’s been some time since I last posted a Baby Smith Handmade project.  I’ve been on a bib rampage lately.  1) Because my baby’s alias is “Drooley Julie.”  2) Majority of bibs found in stores these days are worthless because once my baby soaks her bib, her clothes are most assuredly next in line to get wet.

So in answer to this problem, I marched myself to the fabric store, found some waterproof baby dry vinyl and sandwiched it in between a slice of lovely cotton fabric and a slice of cozy cotton flannel.  Greg added the snaps — which I like much better than velcro.  I love the finished product — so much cuter than store bought bibs if I don’t say so myself.  And waterproof!  I can’t fully explain it, but it really does feel good to see my baby wearing handmade.

Bib fronts, using cotton fabrics, among which are fabrics by Amy Butler and fabrics from my travels to India.

Bib backs, using flannel fabrics, among which are fabrics by the amazing Anna Maria Horner.

Miss Drooley Julie herself enjoying a laundry line of bibs hanging over her crib.

Other Baby Smith Handmade Projects:

Project #2:  Shawl Collar Sweater.

Project #1:  Scalloped Blanket.

What is Baby Smith Handmade?

high school twin.

Yesterday I visited a longtime friend, Diana.  I’ve known her since high school, so that would make us friends for about 13 years and counting.  I remember the first time I met her.  I guess you could compare her to the energetic Ellie, from the Pixar movie, “Up”.  I, on the other hand, was more timid and composed.  So the story goes a little like this:  Diana walks up to me the first week of school, as I’m putting my books in my locker, and she says to me, “So you’re the one that everyone is mistaking for me!”

Yep.  And we’ve been friends ever since.  : )

Diana had a baby girl back in April, and so with my small family in tow, we went to visit Diana’s little baby, Shreya.  It was so weird sitting next to my friend as we both held a baby in our lap.  And not just any baby, but our own babies.  In honor of little Baby Shreya, I sewed her a Black Apple cloth doll.  [I was actually working on the same styled doll for Dhara’s half-birthday present, when I thought I would also whip one up for pretty little Shreya.]

My doll is somewhat different than the typical Black Apple doll because she has a simple cloth face with no features.  For her dress, I used a block printed fabric I picked up in India last year at my favorite fabric store in Madras.  The shop is located in an outdoor market bustling with business everywhere you look.  I could literally spend an entire day at that fabric store looking at all the beautiful cottons and ethnic prints.  I also love the little lace collar I added to the neckline.  So sweet and feminine.  I think I’d like to call her Amelie.

I think Baby Shreya is enjoying her Amelie Doll, don’t you think?

Mama’s doll.

Diana and I had a great time watching our babies and marveling at how life has changed so much since these little ones arrived.  In the last 13 years, Diana completed med school while I went into the world of information technology, and then onto campus ministry.  We’ve both had our ups and downs, but eventually got married to great guys, settled down and are both in a good place now — mommyhood.  So looking forward to what God has in store for us in the years to come.

Susan and Diana. 1999.

japanese pattern books.

I’ve been going through my shelf of pattern books for project ideas and came across The Stylish Dress Book that was mailed to me all the way from Japan.  It came with beautiful photos, instructions and full scaled pattern pieces.  One thing is true — the Japanese sure do have a handle on great fabrics, designs, and styles.  I love almost every piece of clothing in this book and can’t wait to begin sewing a dress — I’ll probably start with the one on the cover.

The only downside of purchasing a Japanese pattern book is that all of them are written in Japanese!  However, there is plenty of help online (tutorials, blogs, etc.) to help you get started.  Plus, the patterns are numbered and pretty clear cut.